Email (electronic mail) is the exchange of messages stored on computer equipment by telecommunication most commonly over the internet. It is one of the most popular uses of the internet. An email is usually a text document, although you can also send other information such as images and sound files as attachments. Email can be distributed to lists of people as well as to individuals.


  • Sending photos via email to specialists for diagnosis of skin complaints. The wider work of the Swinfen trust who specialise in low cost email solutions to health questions, particularly in the developing world
  • Email subscription lists allow information to be targeted to users who have requested that information 
  • Keeping public and staff up to date with developments in the health service system as a whole, such as the Connecting for Health email bulletin
  • Can improve internal communication efficiency
  • CHAIN is a health care information exchange email network which provides a personally tailored information bulletin, created to your own specifications and interests

Benefits and advantages

  • Can be accessed at the user’s convenience
  • Quick to use rather than drafting paper correspondence
  • Savings can be made in terms of cost and environmentally in terms of paper used
  • Helps meet patient expectations - a Picker Institute survey showed that patients want to be able to contact clinicians via email
Risks and disadvantages
  • Unwanted third party access to personal information is a risk
  • Not so permanent a record as paper
  • Poor email management can impact negatively on staff efficiency




Armchair Involvement Guide 2009 

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